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Individual Development Plan

To be effective, training decisions made at the organizational and departmental levels must be informed by the needs of the individual. An individual development plan (IDP) is cooperatively developed between a supervisor and an employee to identify training needs that address mandatory training, essential competencies, legal requirements, career development and professional growth. This allows the employee and supervisor to focus limited resources in the area of greatest need for the individual and the organization.

The IDP tool resides in the Employee Self Service (ESS) system, a web-based application for all DOE Federal Employees.
For instructions on using the IDP tool, visit the ESS website (once logged in, go to IDP > Instructions) or contact the training POC for your organization.

There are training opportunities available to employees that do not require travel and have reduced or no cost. Training vendors are beginning to offer more online training courses with reduced tuition fees. Additionally, the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) and the DOE Online Learning Center (OLC) have no tuition costs. The DAU offers courses in acquisition management, auditing, financial management, contracting, earned value management, industrial/contract property management, information resources, program management, as well as systems planning, research, development and engineering and more. The OLC is accessible through ESS and offers many courses relative to business skills (communication, consulting, finance and accounting, leadership, management, project management, strategic planning, etc.) as well as desktop courses such as Microsoft Office, Project, and Windows. Certification classes are frequently paid for by HQ, including the Project Management Career Development Program (PMCDP), the Acquisition Career Management Program (ACMP).

Structured on-the-job-training is the most frequently used method of individualized learning. This approach can be used to teach employees new procedures, tasks and technology. In this situation, the employee is counseled and coached while actually performing official duties. It usually involves individual instruction by the supervisor or a designated staff member who has experience in the task or procedure to be learned.

Developmental Activities
One of the best ways to train for added responsibilities or higher job opportunities is through developmental activities. With the support and assistance of the supervisor, the employee may be temporarily transferred to another area to learn firsthand the necessary technical and managerial competencies required for effective performance in that job. Examples of developmental activities include the following list:

• Shadowing: Providing a trainee or learner with the opportunity to observe a well-qualified, journeyman level employee perform a particular skill. Immediately after the shadowing period, the learner needs to have the opportunity to perform the same skill and be given feedback on that performance.
• Detail/Rotational Assignments: Short-term assignment particularly appropriate for important skills that make up a small portion of an individual's job, but can lead to full-time work in that field.
• Task Force Assignments: This is particularly effective if the learner has an opportunity to work with well-qualified people who will provide feedback to the learner on his/her performance and participation in the group.

When an employee aspires to a new career and his/her, developmental needs cannot be directly related to present or anticipated work assignments, or resources are not available, the employee may undertake self-development activities:

• Taking evening or weekend courses at local schools
• Watching educational or training videotapes
• Using correspondence and other self-study courses
• Reading books and other publications or journals and
• Using PC tutorials or computer assisted training programs.

Remember, what you want in terms of development and what your supervisor can authorize may be different. To meet all your goals, it may be necessary for you to gain some competencies on your own time.